sanura: (Default)
( Apr. 11th, 2014 02:17 am)
Well, that was magical.

Andrew and I got to Stubb's heinously early, even after we got halfway there and had to go back for my ticket. We definitely wanted enough time for him to eat, cause he was starving, but I am viciously paranoid about anything with the vaguest possibility of interfering with a Crash Kings concert, so he got the menu and ate at the bar. Luckily we had forever to wait around, so we sat at the weird little folding table on the patio and talked till it turned out that was the merch table and the openers asked if we were the official people cause they needed to set up their merch. They insisted we didn't need to move, though, and stood around chatting for awhile. King Washington are nice boys.

We sort of drifted inside in anticipation of the doors opening and got our wristbands before they let anybody in, because we'd been there for an hour and a half. So we sat on the stage in front of Tony's piano, hanging around to wait, and, lo! While he was setting up, my favorite Crash Kings roadie recognized me, greeted me enthusiastically, and said "don't tell anyone". He knew I was the transcription person, and later he told me Tony had been looking forward to seeing the new ones. So that was gratifying.

In addition to being eminently pleasant to talk to, once the doors opened and everybody took a place on the floor, it became apparent that King Washington are killer musicians. By the end of the first song I had resolved to get the album they had on sale on that table, and none of the following songs disappointed either. They're hugely excellent at vocal harmony, more than just the two-part stuff that Crash Kings feature between Mike and Tony, because both guitarists and the bassist all sing, and they use it almost all the time. I'm a sucker for good vocal harmony, but their songs are also put together very well, vaguely 60s but with a significant amount of unexpected progressions, which I'm also a sucker for, and they don't suck at their instruments either. They also do an adorable faux-echo trick on a couple songs, repeating the last syllable and backing up from the mics. That won me over completely.

And then it was time for our boys. Sometimes when Tony thanks the crowd for being awesome, it's politeness; sometimes he calls them out on their apathy, so this time when he climbed up to his piano and grinned and professed amazement at how the crowd knew how to make a band feel at home, and he wished he could just be here, I don't think it was feigned. The crowd really was great.

As was the show. There is really nothing like the slow-sunrise smile of a performer who realizes nearly everyone in the audience is singing along with him. And there's nothing like his nearly incredulous grin of recognition when he realizes you're in your accustomed spot.

I headbanged so hard it hurt, and was far enough out of breath sometimes that I couldn't even sing properly. I wasn't really keeping track of what went in what order, only that they rocked harder than I'd ever seen them. A lot of that has to do with the material from the second album, naturally, which is less piano-bass and more synthy clav wonderland, but there was enough ingrained amazement I didn't trust myself to remember what happened when.

Tony posted the set list on Twitter later, which is handy, because I think I borked my camera when it jumped out of my pocket, so I only got two tiny clips recorded before it would no longer turn on, and sometimes I use it to keep track of what they played. Luckily, I didn't have to here:

There were a couple of banter/patter moments where Tony established a pretty good relationship with the crowd; he decided that there were an awful lot of pretty girls in the audience, and Austin guys are lucky. Awhile later, Mike told him he was digging himself into a hole when he got to the end of the first runthrough set and thanked us all for flying on Crash Kings airlines with them and made a Malaysia joke. It was probably true. In another moment, near the end, he made a little announcement about how a fan had flown in from Salt Lake to see them for her birthday, and he played her Happy Birthday in an adorably loungy jazz style. It was absurdly cute.

Spectacularly Reckless, a new song I had never heard in my life, is GORGEOUS. I LOVE IT. Even catchier than most of the second album, I was singing along by the second chorus, and I cannot wait to have a recording of it. Tony was talking after the show and apparently they're going right back into the studio when they finish the tour, to start on the third album. Perfect. I want it. I just get so excited.

A few days ago, while I was still vibrating with anticipation about seeing this show, I was trawling Youtube for live videos of the second album, and I noticed something. There were at least clips of almost everything but White Wolf. So I tweeted Tony to ask if they ever played it live, and he answered "yeah we do. Maybe in Austin". Turns out, they had never played it on tour before. So they played White Wolf specifically because I had asked about it, and Tony pointed at me at the end and said "that's for you".

The two encores not included on this setlist (and boy did the crowd require an encore; we were chanting "one more" for what seemed like several minutes after the boys left the stage) were My Love, which was sweetly touching, especially since it was at the end of a long show and the low notes were pretty iffy in Tony's voice, and Saving Grace, which numerous people in the crowd had been yelling for intermittently throughout the show between songs (Tony mock-sternly informed them that requests were not open at this time). But then after the first encore, I heard the familiar progression rumble that I knew from hearing them do it live before, and just exploded with glee. They hammered the opening bars, and then, on the first verse, which opens "Take my hand", he did his usual mic-grab and step-touch, and looked down at me and reached out for my hand. So of course I gave it to him. I sang so loud and bounced so hard I couldn't breathe, and couldn't sing, and clung to the stage as we all mellowed out during the buildup to the chorus.

I was so tired when they finally left the stage for the last time, I just went out to the merch table and sat down on the ground in a corner. Then I realized I hadn't yet bought the King Washington album, so I took care of that and chatted with the guitarist for awhile, learning that this was their second album (they sold out of the first one, but it was on iTunes). I really, really liked their music and hope to see them live again.

While waiting for the crowd around Tony to thin, I hung out with tour manager who had recognized me, and he asked to see the transcriptions and marveled at them for a bit, explaining how Tony knew I'd be there and was really looking forward to seeing them. He showed me the new shirt, which of course I bought despite wanting one of the new tank tops (they were sold out, and I prefer to buy merch at shows rather than off the online store). Andrew was saying how he felt a bit special because we were authorized to hang around after everybody was gone, as the tour manager knew Tony would want to talk to me. There was a hilarious interlude where about four groupies attempted to go off with Mike (who was very drunk), and then a couple got very upset when he sort of sidestepped them.

Finally, nearly everyone but the crew and the staff and the bands and a couple of really old friends of Tony's were gone. The closing staff, one guy in particular, were getting really grouchy, but there was Tony, beaming to see me, as I told him I had something for him, as well as some questions. So I gave Tony the transcriptions. He grinned really wide when he saw the title of Hesitate and looked through it, and thought for sure I had done both Raincoat and 14 Arms before, but I told him all I had left to do from the first album was You Got Me, because I wasn't sure what to do with the end, and I did 14 Arms specifically because he'd told me he'd wanted to see what it looked like. He told me he still had all of the transcriptions I'd given him, and he looked through the new ones a bit and answered my questions about the changes in the bridge and the inversions in Raincoat to the best of his ability, though he remarked that he doesn't read music much anymore, and he'd really like to get to a piano to give these a good looking over. So I told him I'd love it if he would, and he said he'd send me corrections if he could figure out how to specify where/what to change, and I reminded him there were bar numbers on the sheets. I didn't want to ruin his life or anything, but I'd really appreciate it if he could send me changes, and he said it was his honor. I told him I keep doing these things because he keeps writing stuff I love and just can't leave alone.

I even told him I might do Wednesday on my gig in a couple weeks, and he said, "good for you" and seemed really pleased. I told him I'm a bit terrified, which he thought was understandable, and I was excited but I don't know how to do a rock show, really, as I've never done one of just my own stuff. He reassuringly said he was that way at first and then you try it and you stop being terrified, and it was just utterly fantastic to talk to him about it.

They were loading out during the entire conversation, and the venue staff were getting more and more grouchy, and by the end of our conversation they were literally kicking even the band out, so I bid the boys goodbye and split, and Andrew and I drove home in something of a daze.

Everything hurts now, but that may well be the best show I've ever been to. It was really nothing short of magical, but magic like it's portrayed in magical realism, the kind where everything seems normal and nobody acknowledges the wonder because it's very strange but it's part of life.

I hope there's another show soon.

I hope my own show goes well.

sanura: (Default)
( Mar. 29th, 2012 08:29 pm)
This evening after a long and involved day of digital textbook editing (and an interesting David Eagleman lecture, after which I went and asked him about different people's vision flicker rate in his dropping-people experiment), I tuned in to StageIt for Tony Beliveau's show. Man I miss that rush.

Let me tell you, he can still kill a live show. Even on a slightly-out 1972 upright with the top off. He opened with a slightly lounge version of 14 Arms, which was fascinating, and of course did It's Only Wednesday and Come Away. He sweetly asked for suggestions, and Raincoat was the consensus. He played a song from the new album, which I can't wait to hear, and then another request, My Love, dedicated to his current, and then an Oasis cover, and of course ending with Mountain Man. It was a 20-minute encore on a 20-minute show. Beautiful. Never gets old.
sanura: (Default)
( Nov. 16th, 2010 03:45 pm)

I cannot believe a) that this happened and b) that it took me so long to watch it and notice.

Crash Kings (or roxwel) have a new music video for Non Believer. I finally got to sit down and watch it today, and, turns out, I AM IN IT.

Almost all of the live shots of Tony from upstage have me behind him, headbanging and yelling lyrics. I'm even in focus sometimes, so you can see how sweaty I am. It seems like half the video is from that show. Which, I don't even know what show it was. Could have been any number of (or, more precisely, 19) shows during which I was in that spot.

Excuse me while I go flail and never recover.
Summary of an awesome CK day, terse due to time constraints

Didn't leave till I had something finished on my keychain flashdrive to print on the way
Picked up Jo after we found her; communication trouble so we went to Wendy's
Picked up Julie's friend Courtney at the place where she works
Made it to Burlington after 8 so there was no time to print anything

Sidecar Radio was in the middle of their song, so I slipped through the gappy crowd to the front
Non Believer
14 Arms
You Got Me
Come Away
My Love talked about piano string
Oh You Pretty Things
Carry On a guy told me I got the best video, and I'd heard him say earlier that right behind the lead singer is the best seat in the house; I tend to agree
War Pigs killed.

Talked to little kid named Brian who apparently has a band, some girls who were with him who thought I was awesome and made them happy
Sidecar Radio frontman stood around and talked to me, Julie, and Jo for ages, recommended gravy fries
After the receiving line was mostly gone, I asked Jimmy what happened to the van; where'd ol' Blue go? I see there's now a new white one. He said no, I think it's red... I'm like but I SAW it... wasn't it that one outside... He was messing with me. I'm so gullible.
Asked about the Paradise gig that got taken down from Facebook; sadly, not happening since it's a flying day to Anaheim
Jason was glad to see us, Tony chatted with us at length; Jo's good at keeping the conversation going
David Bowie produce their next record
Jo's shirt

I was sorry again not to have it, but told him what I'd changed and got a little Tony air piano out of explaining I'd learned there was an E-flat on the top of most of the chords in the chorus
Flat keys or sharp keys? We both tend toward flats, so 1985 is mostly in E-flat instead of D-sharp except it modulates so much
He liked our shirts, especially Julie's hot pink dyed mountain shirt which he hadn't seen: "we should do a line of those" "yeah, people like colors" I pointed to mine and he laughed and said that would be expensive
Thanked us for coming out, and we explained individually how it was really him we should be thanking
Jo mentioned how he'd brought us all together as friends
I continued trying vainly to explain how much it meant to me, but he seemed to understand

Long drive home.
sanura: (Default)
( Aug. 4th, 2010 11:59 pm)
I printed out what I’d finished in the morning (we left late). Also, I managed to drop my camera in the toilet right before departure. Awesomely, Kara recognized Mike and Jimmy as we were walking to the venue. That pretty cool photographer who seemed to be with the band remembered me and said hi.

The first openers had all just graduated high school but were pretty good: the Valar, I think. Second openers were fairly boring electronica.

List of awesome things that happened when our boys came on:
Tony said “whatever you do don’t touch the stage; it’s sticky” and laughed to himself about the stool being stuck to it
Jason smiled at me between the drums and piano during 1985, always a perfect start. I was slightly behind him, so he most definitely said "all around" during Non Believer, which is awesome. He grinned during Raincoat.
Mike split his face grinning and pointed at us after the Mountain Man claps.
Josh handed the set list right to me
Jason hugged me enthusiastically
I asked Jimmy about who to ask if I can sell transcriptions for the boys cause people who see me do the songs keep asking for them; he said keep them to myself for now but email management
Gave Tony the first 4 pages of 1985 and asked what to do about the synth line; he said put it on its own staff, he’d look through the rest of it
Jason loved my shirt and was glad he’d see us tomorrow
They all signed the set list
sanura: (Default)
( Jun. 9th, 2010 11:10 pm)
Brent greeted us at the door once we made it to his house (his parents and siblings were out at his little brother's baseball game till later), and gave us a tour of the extensive property. The house was just recently remodeled, so there was lots to show, and we're in the little guest house to the side of it, attached to what looks like a hangar but I guess is a barn for the farm equipment (Brent's dad is a cotton farmer, and has a few fields of corn too). Brent took us all around on a golf cart he drives with blithe assurance. They have a pier into the river at the back of the property behind some beautiful woods, and the fireflies were just starting up when we went back there. Their Maltese, Cory, had jumped up into my lap for the ride, and Brent had given me his lovely spiral-headed walking stick to me to hold, so I was the Queen on that drive with lapdog and sceptre. It's so nice to see him in his own environment, confident and self-possessed in a way he never is in Boston.

This morning his mom made us breakfast in the shop kitchen and we looked around a little more at the farm and hung out before the family went to have lunch at one of Bath's two restaurants. He wanted to take a drive to the pier and back, so I went with him again rather idyllically through the woods and back before he started the real car and took us to the restaurant and hung with the rest of the family. He had to go to rehearsal, but the rest of us talked and were generally Southern together, which was a nice change from uptight New Englandness.

His mom took us and a glass of wine and the dog (and Brent's little brother Ben, whose idea it was while we were eating pizza for dinner and talking) to the pier to watch the sun set, and I can imagine Brent growing up in this kind of coastal, pastoral idyll. It reminds me a little of Grandjo's old house, the comfortable functionality of everything (though they have a lot more resources at their disposal and a lot more land).

Brent came home from the rehearsal and we traded some intense neck and shoulder work before exhaustedly retreating to bed and promising to get up in the morning to hang out before his ludicrously early (and long) rehearsal tomorrow. So we decided to stay another night. I think it's a good idea, because I couldn't drive tonight even earlier in the evening.
sanura: (Default)
( Jun. 9th, 2010 01:49 pm)
After hanging out in the morning (ish... I woke late), Charlotte and Ammon drove us to their new house to see it and the remodel they're doing (it's awesome), and then to the Apple store in Kansas City to see if they could fix my trackpad (they didn't have time). There was a beggar outside the parking garage, which Ammon said was discouraging because there's usually a busker there, but at least he was a witty one: we walked by and he told us, "I'm trying to raise a down payment on a hamburger." I liked that.

Around 4:45, after we'd had some grilled chicken Lisa made, it was time to hit the road for Columbia. The drive started out well, but about 20 minutes out we came to a standstill, and when we finally inched up to the Odessa exit, we could see why. Three 18-wheelers were slathered over both sides of the highway and the median, so the emergency services were directing everyone off at the exits and back on after the accident. It was an awfully clear road after that.

We got there about half an hour after the doors opened... )
sanura: (Default)
( May. 22nd, 2010 02:49 am)
I can't even explain. That just happened. You guys. Hey. )
sanura: (Default)
( May. 14th, 2010 11:16 pm)
Tomas's senior recital nearly killed me. He is so spectacularly good, but with an easiness that makes it not just impressive and pleasurable but also relaxing and encouraging to listen to. Among the few voices with the distinction to carry it off, he's one of the even fewer with the laid-back ease of technique that actually could be described as mellifluous. Wow, I need the recording.

It was an eventful day, too. )
sanura: (Default)
( May. 11th, 2010 01:57 am)
Watched TV on TV for the first time in a long time. Attended my first Twitter party; the East Coast Crash Queens were collectively squeeing about the boys' appearance on national TV )
sanura: (Default)
( Apr. 19th, 2010 11:20 pm)
Two show days in a row! Tony's Mozart Scenes were a seat-of-the-pants operation, but no one got pantsed. In fact, nearly everyone did really well. I was far more prepared for the concert than the dress rehearsal, and it made me feel better, so I sang and acted better (plus, I was wearing a metallic orange toga, so there's a plus). Tony's mom and my mom made friends, and brought a banquet from Whole Foods for the reception.

Mama came to all my classes today, which was interesting. Peter Row seemed to remember her from back in the day, as of course did Hankus (sounds check for tonight's concert was at 10 this morning). She talked to my Microtonal teacher, who was a student of the late Joe Maneri, who taught it when my mom was here.

Brent asked me to go with him to buy pants for his recital. I hate clothes shopping. So I said, only if he came with me to Goodwill to get more pants that fit (my new awesome Goodwill favorite corduroys already have a tendency to hang too low). So we walked to the Pru, spent an unreasonable amount of time deciding between unreasonably priced identical-looking pants, and had to go back twice because he thought he left his phone there and then thought it was stolen (he'd left it at home, which we discovered when I called my mom).

The walk was nice, and the train ride to Goodwill was fun. The Copley station was closed for the Marathon, so it took longer than it should've, but he's still enamored of my haircut so he keeps rubbing my head. Which is nice. And he was immensely impressed by my ability to find 8 pairs of cool-looking pants in the chaos, try them all on, buy the 7 of them that fit, and get a burrito from the nextdoor Qdoba within 20 minutes. I told him I'm a quick change, comes from the practice in theater.

And then it was time for the concert call for this evening.

So, I've wanted a band since, well, forever. Part of the reason that I've been obsessing so hard over the Crash Kings events is that they've demonstrated both their excellence and their personal reality; they're amazing, but also I've met them and know a little of their story and how much personal truth they invest in their music. I want that for myself, for my life. To participate in and/or lead music that came from myself, and rock it hard in front of people who are interested and care about it. I've been a little down since the end of Friday night for several small but cumulative reasons. I don't have a band, my roommate is going off music because of his conservatory experience, the Crash Kings didn't respond to my second tweet about the transcription, the scale has stalled in a place where none of my pants fit.

Tonight's songwriting ensemble concert was a step in the right direction. I messed it up a little, but the work and thought and character came through. It felt so good to be expressing myself, from real experience distilled carefully into my favorite idioms, together with very skilled collaborators. It is actually what I want to do with my life.
sanura: (Default)
( Apr. 17th, 2010 01:02 pm)
Last bit of New York time was brunch with Eric, coffee with Ben: Both at Grey Dog in Union Square. It must be the place to be. Between we walked the 40min to the Mercury Lounge to pick up Crash Kings tickets for May 23rd. So glad my plane home is two days later.

Was woefully underprepared for yet another extra dress rehearsal for Tony's program this morning. I just can't listen to that kind of music often enough to learn it by osmosis as I'm accustomed to doing, and hardcore sheet-music memorization practicing is equally distasteful. The people I'm working with on it are unhelpfully forgiving, too.

My mom and Tony's mom (who hates her) are on the same plane to Boston.

I would rather be arranging Blindsided for Monday night's concert. Here, have the other two videos I took Thursday night: You Got Me, Carry On and My Love.